The Future of Skills Education 2030

The Future of Skills Education 2030 : Need for new solutions in a rapidly changing world. Societies are changing rapidly and profoundly.

A first challenge is environmental: e.g.
• Climate change and the depletion of natural resources require urgent action and adaptation.

A second challenge is economic: e.g.
• Scientific knowledge is creating new opportunities and solutions that can enrich our lives, while at the same time fuelling disruptive waves of change in every sector. Unprecedented innovation in science and technology, especially in bio-technology and artificial intelligence, is raising fundamental questions about what it is to be human. It is time to create new economic, social and institutional models that pursue better lives for all.

• Financial interdependence at local, national and regional levels has created global value chains and a shared economy, but also pervasive uncertainty and exposure to economic risk and crises. Data is being created, used and shared on a vast scale, holding out the promise of expansion, growth and improved efficiency while posing new problems of cyber security and privacy protection.

A third challenge is social: e.g.
• As the global population continues to grow, migration, urbanisation and increasing social and cultural diversity are reshaping countries and communities.

• In large parts of the world, inequalities in living standards and life chances are widening, while conflict, instability and inertia, often intertwined with populist politics, are eroding trust and confidence in government itself. At the same time, the threats of war and terrorism are escalating.

These global trends are already affecting individual lives, and may do so for decades to come. They have triggered a global debate that matters to every country, and call for global and local solutions. The OECD Education 2030 contributes to the UN 2030 Global Goals for Sustainable Development (SDGs), aiming to ensure the sustainability of people, profit, planet and peace, through partnership.

Need for broader education goals:
Individual and collective well-being Unless steered with a purpose, the rapid advance of science and technology may widen inequities, exacerbate social fragmentation and accelerate resource depletion.

In the 21st century, that purpose has been increasingly defined in terms of well-being. But well-being involves more than access to material resources, such as income and wealth, jobs and earnings, and housing. It is also related to the quality of life, including health, civic engagement, social connections, education, security, life satisfaction and the environment. Equitable access to all of these underpins the concept of inclusive growth.

Education has a vital role to play in developing the knowledge, skills, attitudes and values that enable people to contribute to and benefit from an inclusive and sustainable future. Learning to form clear and purposeful goals, work with others with different perspectives, find untapped opportunities and identify multiple solutions to big problems will be essential in the coming years. Education needs to aim to do more than prepare young people for the world of work; it needs to equip students with the skills they need to become active, responsible and engaged citizens.

Learner agency: Navigating through a complex and uncertain world Future-ready students need to exercise agency, in their own education and throughout life. Agency implies a sense of responsibility to participate in the world and, in so doing, to influence people, events and circumstances for the better. Agency requires the ability to frame a guiding purpose and identify actions to achieve a goal.

Read Also: Role of Science & Technology in 21st Century

To help enable agency, educators must not only recognise learners’ individuality, but also acknowledge the wider set of relationships – with their teachers, peers, families and communities – that influence their learning. A concept underlying the learning framework is “co-agency” – the interactive, mutually supportive relationships that help learners to progress towards their valued goals. In this context, everyone should be considered a learner, not only students but also teachers, school managers, parents and communities.
Two factors, in particular, help learners enable agency. The first is a personalised learning environment that supports and motivates each student to nurture his or her passions, make connections between different learning experiences and opportunities, and design their own learning projects and processes in collaboration with others. The second is building a solid foundation: literacy and numeracy remain crucial. In the era of digital transformation and with the advent of big data, digital literacy and data literacy are becoming increasingly essential, as are physical health and mental well-being.

Need for a broad set of knowledge, skills, attitudes and values in action
Students who are best prepared for the future are change agents. They can have a positive impact on their surroundings, influence the future, understand others’ intentions, actions and feelings, and anticipate the short and long-term consequences of what they do.

The concept of competency implies more than just the acquisition of knowledge and skills; it involves the mobilisation of knowledge, skills, attitudes and values to meet complex demands. Future-ready students will need both broad and specialised knowledge. Disciplinary knowledge will continue to be important, as the raw material from which new knowledge is developed, together with the capacity to think across the boundaries of disciplines and “connect the dots”. Epistemic knowledge, or knowledge about the disciplines, such as knowing how to think like a mathematician, historian or scientist, will also be significant, enabling students to extend their disciplinary knowledge. Procedural knowledge is acquired by understanding how something is done or made – the series of steps or actions taken to accomplish a goal. Some procedural knowledge is domain-specific, some transferable across domains. It typically develops through practical problem-solving, such as through design thinking and systems thinking.

Students will need to apply their knowledge in unknown and evolving circumstances. For this, they will need a broad range of skills, including cognitive and meta-cognitive skills (e.g. critical thinking, creative thinking, learning to learn and self-regulation); social and emotional skills (e.g. empathy, self-efficacy and collaboration); and practical and physical skills (e.g. using new information and communication technology devices).

The use of this broader range of knowledge and skills will be mediated by attitudes and values (e.g. motivation, trust, respect for diversity and virtue). The attitudes and values can be observed at personal, local, societal and global levels. While human life is enriched by the diversity of values and attitudes arising from different cultural perspectives and personality traits, there are some human values (e.g. respect for life and human dignity, and respect for the environment, to name two) that cannot be compromised.